California CDL Skills Test

Steps to Obtaining Your California CDL (CA CDL)

CDL RequirementsCDL PermitEndoresementsSkills TestHolding a CDL
Range Test

Having successfully passed the required California CDL Knowledge Tests, the applicant can now address the driving portion of the California CDL skills test. These are the General Skills Tests and they are assessed in three sections, CDL Pre-Trip Inspection, Basic Vehicle Control and On-Road Driving. Each test is designed to assess the applicant’s ability, but also to reinforce the attitude of professionalism and safety that will be essential to them as a Commercial Driver.

California Pre-Trip Inspection

The first of these is the Pre-Trip Inspection Test. The pre-trip inspection is perhaps is one of the most important parts as it will be carried out to ensure the applicant knows whether the vehicle is safe to drive. This part of the California CDL Skills Test usually involves the CDL examiner asking the applicant to identify and walk through each part of the complete inspection.

The California Pre-Trip Inspection test can include more than 100 items - which is a lot to remember. Many drivers turn to pre-trip videos and inspection checklists to help them remember all items on a complete, proper pre-trip inspection. Learn how to perform the pre-trip inspection - California CDL Pre Trip Inspection DVD

Basic Vehicle Control Test

This test will assess the applicant’s ability to perform certain maneuvers with the commercial vehicle, such as forward, reverse and turns in defined areas. The examiner will make clear the manner in which each aspect of the control test is to be fulfilled.

The area set out for this portion of the test may be indicated with cones or similar markers, it is worth remembering that they are placed to simulate the distances and features of real-life scenarios. As the last test before the applicant is asked to demonstrate their skills on the public roads, it is imperative that their understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the vehicle are as complete as possible.

On-Road Driving Test

As the final test, the On-Road Driving Test is the applicant’s opportunity to demonstrate their skill to drive safely and efficiently on public roads. The test could include lane changes, left and right turns, general intersection behaviour, varying gradients and a variety of road situations. This is not a test to “show off” the applicant’s ability, but more the chance to display the skills and behavior of a professional driver, maintaining a safe and courteous attitude to other road users, while fulfilling work requirements. The examiner will direct the applicant on where to drive and on what maneuvers they are required to perform.

California DMV CDL Test Locations

Due to the need for specially designated testing areas, the California CDL Skills Tests must be carried out by appointment. The California DMV website provides CA Skills Test site localities or phone 1-800-777-0133.


California CDL Information

California CDL

Cost of California CDL: $66.00
California CDL Manual
CA DMV - Department of Motor Vehicles


California CDL Pre-Trip Inspection

Pre-Trip Inspection Video

Pre-Trip Inspection Training

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